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Samhain Ancestors

Merry meet all,

Whew. Samhain has come but is not gone. The New Year is here. I am tired but content with the holiday events. I performed two rituals, one to welcome in the new year by banishing bad energy. The other was a solitary Samhain ritual.

I also completed my ancestor altar cloth. I posted in the past about the altar cloth. This year I created an ancestor altar doll. I was inspired by another website and set out to make my own doll.

I printed out the template. I traced the template onto black knit fabric. I stitched the doll together and stuffed her with cotton batting. Then I added herbs that correspond to ancestor worship such as mugwort, wormwood and rosemary and a black hematite stone. I filled the head section with more cotton batting and stitched the opening closed. I added a patch of white fabric for the face. I marked her face on using a sharpie pen.

I made her a witch hat. I traced out a cone hat on black fabric and stuffed it with cotton batting. I found a weird thing of orange and black hair at the thrift store. It had a clip on it so I clipped the hair thing to her head. I even braided a section of her hair. I had a hard time making her a dress. I have LOTS of black lace. But finding the perfect fabric was hard. I finally made her a dress and stitched it on by hand. I stitched the collar of the dress to the black fabric of the doll. I added black and white striped socks to the legs and feet. I hemmed the dress and added lace cuffs to the sleeves. I sewed her a black lace over skirt and made her a shawl from the black and white spider print fabric left over from another sewing project. Now for the fun part.

She is an ancestor doll. I glued on a rune to the front of the doll, beorc- the closest rune to ancestor. Beorc means family. I also ironed an appliqué of a black spider to the front of the doll. I fashioned her a broom from a branch and straw outside. I painted the branch black and bound the straw using an elastic. I glued the broom and her hands to the broom. It looks like her hands are clasping the broom. I added sprigs of lavender to the broom.

I hate covering the tiny minute details but it is those very details that make such a project last a long time. I had to hand stitch most of the clothing to the doll. I had a hard time stitching the brim of the hat to the doll’s head. I did and in the back of the doll’s head, the glue adhered the hat to the head. I secured the collar of the dress to the doll which was more work but worth it.

She has a pentacle necklace. I named her Helga, The name Helga, in Old Norse, means “Holy”. As in “Helgafjell”, the “Holy Mountain”, the afterlife for those who were not warriors, but still lived good, honest, and honourable lives, and contributed positively to their society. It was said that Helgafjell was so beautiful, that one could not gaze upon it without shielding their eyes. Hardened, brave, and proud Valhalla-bound warriors and Valkyries would even weep at its beauty. Helga, meaning “Holy” (or “Sacred”/”Hallowed”.

Here is a photo:

I shall add to the doll to make her a true ancestor doll as time goes on. But I wanted to tell you how it was done if this post inspires you to make your own doll for whatever reason. I dedicated her on my altar and she now has a perch to hang from and oversee all activities.

Merry Samhain

Blessings, Spiderwitch )O(

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A time to Remember


There is a debate in the Wiccan Pagan witchy community about whether people should honor the dead only on Samhain or all through the year. I say if you are serious enough in your intent, and truly want to honor your ancestors, you should be doing just that all year. 

They are around us all year, not just on October 31st. To think  they are only here on October 31st is actually ridiculous. When I dined at the Five Fishermen restaurant, the waiter asked me if the spirits are around only on October 3st. First of all, he worked there. The staff at that restaurant work there all year. They are making money off of the restaurant’s reputation for being haunted. They have seen paranormal activity all year. I told him that no, they are always around. They are dead. They have eternity. Honoring the dead can and should be performed all year. 

I keep a photo of my late grandfather and my raccoon skull Bandit on  my altar every day of the year. I might change the rest of my altar to honor the changes in the Wheel of the Year but that never changes. The photo and skull are always on the altar. I have wanted to start a separate altar just for that purpose but right now, I am limited by space. My familiar cat likes to nap on or beneath my altar. She likes the energy and the space. 

I am attending Christopher Penczak’s workshop The Mighty Dead in September. I look forward to the event. I plan to post here all about it. It is a weekend intensive workshop. I hope to attend the book signing too. 

I know the veil is thin at Samhain but there are books that has helpful information on how to honor your ancestors. Christen Day’s book The Witches Book of the Dead and Penczak’s book The Mighty Dead illustrate how to do this all year. 

You will deepen your relationship with your chosen deities/ ancestors/ god or goddess. This can benefit you because they can help you with love, work, protection. Be respectful always. I heard of someone who called a spirit a bitch after summoning the spirit from an Ouija board. Never do this. If you disrespect the spirit, you will be bombasted with negative things. If you honor them respectfully, you will get good energy. Always remember: Retribution is a pretty word for karma. You get what you send out. 

I also don’t suggest using Ouija boards until you know what you are doing. But don’t approach one with fear either. Be strong and confident and sure you are ready for this. Never be alone if you want to use an Ouija board, be sure to have a trusted friend with you in case things get out of hand. 

Believe they are real, believe they are there for you- the good ones, all year round, that you can honor them all year, and that they may even aid you in life, and you will enrich your spiritual practice and deepen your relationship with them. 

Blessed Be,

Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Samhain Rituals


Merry meet all,

The wind sings in the trees. The sun sparkles over my street, casting a bright glow on the leaves. The blue sky is clear. It’s a beautiful October morning. A lively morning for October.

Samhain Prayers. Samhain is the time to honor the dead and a time for death and rebirth. Light a candle and meditate on what this time means to you. Record the experience in your Book of Shadows. Here is an example of a prayer:

Corn has been shucked, 
grain has been threshed, 
herbs have been hung to dry. 
Grapes have been pressed, 
potatoes have been dug, 
beans have been shelled and canned. 
It is the harvest season, 
and food is ready for winter. 
We will eat, and we will live,
and we will be grateful.

Now  who can resist a Samhain ritual? I can’t. Use black and orange candles, a black velvet altar cloth, a cauldron, red candle for fire, clean candleholders, a silver athame. Velvet is such a sensual material. This is the time to go all out on your altar. The magic works better if your altar area is clean and fresh. You can celebrate Samhain as part of the ancestor ritual or do it separately. Place a photo of a loved deceased one on your altar. 

Decorate your altar with pumpkins, gourds, a skull- crystal, if you can, roots and berries, and grave rubbings. You could use graveyard irt. Be sure to get the dirt ethically. Be respectful. Usually at Samhain many Wiccans Pagans perform a dumb supper. You solemnly honor the dead and your loved one who passed. If you are sharing the meal with family members, you can choose to speak during the ritual. 

Set the table with a dark-colored plate and set mead, wine, dark breads, and cheese on the table. Serve yourself and the other family members. Set an extra dinner plate for the ancestors. Light the candles. A serving of each food goes on the ancestors’ plate before the family members or yourself. Remember that you don’t speak during the dumb supper. Leave the food as an offering for the spirits outside. 

Let the candles burn down and leave the wine on the table for your ancestors. Think of what family means to you and what traditions you always enjoyed. You can do a separate ritual for pets. You can follow this ritual with a seance. 

Blessed Be,

Lady Spiderwitch


Filed under Altars for Samhain Rituals